One cannot begin to talk of preserving and expanding the special relationship between the United States and the UK in the twenty-first century without describing the tragedy that ushered in this new epoch, the events of September 11. Britain’s response was an immediate, spontaneous, and universal outpouring of support. There was never any question that as during every crisis, “we stand with you, we support you, and together we will defeat evil.” This has been the overwhelming lesson of the old era: that, as Baroness Thatcher has said, whatever good has occurred in the world, one will find the United States and UK at the base of it. This remains the seminal message of the new era as well.
The arguments between the United States and the UK (and they are real) are intense, yet family quarrels. They should not obscure the hard, pragmatic reality that one of the first reactions of every American president in crisis, after “What is the press reporting?” is to say “We had better talk to London.” This mutuality of political and economic interests (as well as the cultural affinities) is so commonplace as to often escape remark. And it is precisely what the United States will lose if the UK is subsumed into the European Union (EU).